Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zhuwao held hostage

Zhuwao held hostage

Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:40

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, was last week held hostage 
for hours by workers at his Gwebi Junction Estate near Norton, after failing 
to pay them their wages for the past three months.

The 115 workers sang revolutionary songs, beat drums before sealing off the 
farmhouse exit, demanding their money. Sensing danger, a frightened Zhuwao, 
who is Zanu PF MP for Zvimba East constituency, scaled the fence and 
eventually escaped using a back exit much to the chagrin of the irate 

A worker at the farm, who refused to be identified for fear of 
victimisation, said they only became confrontational after failing to engage 
Zhuwao through peaceful means.
“Zhuwao has not paid us for three months but what has really angered us is 
that he is being elusive,” said the worker.

The workers said they were also infuriated by the fact that whenever they 
raised the issue of payment, Zhuwao would accuse them of being influenced by 
Francis Mukwangariva, a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative 
also eyeing Zvimba East in the upcoming polls.

Zhuwao yesterday confirmed that he was held hostage and that the workers had 
since sealed him off the farm until he brings their wages. “I can confirm 
that I have not paid my workers for the last three months due to some 
financial constraints,” said Zhuwao.

“Remember, I am a tobacco farmer and I can only pay them after selling my 
tobacco, which can be anytime soon. But the unfortunate part is that they 
have sealed me off the farm.”

He said he would not report to the police, as the matter was a labour issue. 
The workers have since camped at the farm house, vowing to remain put until 
Zhuwao gave them their dues.

In an application for a show cause order to Chinhoyi Provincial Labour 
Office, dated May 4 2012, Zhuwao requested the labour office to provide a 
ruling declaring the strike illegal.

“The illegality of the strike and its associated disturbances is premised on 
the understanding that the workers failed to give fourteen working days 
notice of their intention to engage in such an action,” reads the letter.

“Neither the police nor the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare were 
informed.”  Zhuwao said the aggrieved permanent employees were threatening 
casual workers with violence should they continue to work at the farm.

Although the exact amount owed to workers was not stated, Zhuwao said he had 
30 000 kg of tobacco at the farm, which he expected to sell in order to 
clear a US$121 079 debt to Tian Ze Tobacco Company.

“This therefore means that I will have sufficient resources (US$78 811) to 
clear wages subject to my being able to continue grading the tobacco and 
delivering it to Tian Ze Tobacco Company,” said Zhuwao.


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